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The Box: T.V., Game & Online News – 3/12/08


The Box: T.V., Game & Online News – 3/12/08

1) The CW network in the U.S. is bringing comics legend Spider-Man back for another animated series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, in which Spidey is still in high school. The voice cast for the show will include Peter MacNicol as Doctor Octopus, Lacey Chabert as Gwen Stacy, Vanessa Marshall as Mary Jane Watson and Josh Keaton as star Peter Parker. Horror icon Robert Englund will provide the voice of the Vulture, the first villain to face Spider-Man in the show. The show will air on Saturday mornings during the Kids’ WB! block of programming.

2) Science fiction author Larry Niven, best known for his award-winning Ringworld series, is working with Alchemic Productions to create a totally new universe for gamers to play in, called Free Fall. The game centers around a nation of miners and spacers that inhabit Earth’s Moon, Mars and the asteroid belt and the effects of a revolution by the miners. All the action of the game takes place entirely in zero-gravity and Alchemic has used aerospace engineers from NASA as consultants. The game may be developed for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

3) VIZ Media is introducing a new series to Cartoon Network’s line-up in the U.S. called Blue Dragon. The show is based on the Xbox 360 videogame of the same name, with characters designed by Akira Toriyama, famed for his Dragon Ball manga. The show premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo last year and is produced by Studio Pierrot. It concerns Seven Soldiers of Light who must unbound the magical Shadow powers within them to overcome a despotic power.

4) The Jim Henson Company will offer films and television shows from its vaults for purchase and downloading from Apple’s iTunes Store. The cult fan favorite film The Dark Crystal and the dark fantasy The Labyrinth, starring David Bowie, will be made available, as well as the entire run of television’s Fraggle Rock and SF series Farscape.

5) 1988 brought us the SF thriller film Alien Nation, starring Mandy Patinkin and James Caan, about a slave ship of aliens, the Tenctonese, who crash-landed on Earth as refugees and attempt to integrate into human society. The movie spawned a brief spin-off television series of the same name in 1989, starring Gary Graham as human cop Matthew Sikes and Eric Pierpoint as George Francisco, his Tenctonese partner. After the series was canceled after one season, it was revived with the original cast for a series of television movies from 1994-1997, due to its cult following. These five movies are now being offered as a collection on DVD, Alien Nation: The Television Movies.

6) Actor Noah Wyle will return as Flynn Carsen in the third movie installment of TNT's fantasy Librarian franchise, entitled The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice, produced by Electric Entertainment, for the U.S. cable market. Bob Newhart and Jane Curtain will also reprise their roles in the series, and the cast will include Bruce Davison and Stana Katic. Jonathan Frakes will direct the film. In The Curse Of The Judas Chalice, Carsen has grown restless with his librarian job at the New York Metropolitan Library and discovers a conspiracy that involves the notorious vampire Prince Vlad Dracul.
7) The CW network in the U.S. announced that it is renewing its two sci-fi television series, Smallville and Supernatural for fall 2008. Smallville will be returning for an eighth season and Supernatural will begin its fourth season. The two shows had been paired together on Thursday nights, but the CW has temporarily moved new fantasy show Reaper into Supernatural’s timeslot. New episodes of both shows may be on hold until the fall.

8) Media giant Walt Disney has set up a digital studio, Stage 9 Digital Media, to create original short works for the Internet. The series will appear on http://www.abc.com and YouTube. The first one available is Squeegees, a comedy about window-washer slackers created by the comedy team Handsome Donkey. Each episode runs three to five minutes. Productions will also include the SF thriller Trenches.

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